VLT futures

Casino slots Czech avalanche

Jamp ahead

Vending Data moves to acquire Dolphin Products

Games city

Refreshing installs from TCSJH at the Palms Mint

PokerPro clears UK approvals

VLT operations: WinWin Austria

New Prince of Czech Republic

Harmony right across Latvia

Games focus: Video Lottery Terminals

Product Guide

Interview

Game Technology: Slot Tournaments

Giving back to the players

 

 

 

 

 

Casino slots Czech avalanche

Aristocrat Europe has revealed plans to launch its biggest selection of games ever for the Czech market, with 12 approvals on track to meet a June date with distributor Comax.  The list will include some of Aristocrat’s most successful titles in its 9.20 and 50 line games range.  At the World of Entertainment show in Prague in April, Aristocrat was already pushing through approvals ready to site machines with Czech Casinos and American Chance, as both operators have shown huge interest in its latest games.  Czech distributor Comax believes that several large international operators in the country are now eager to site Aristocrat machines, and says the dedicated focus of the slot manufacturer will be met with a positive reaction from the Czech market.  “I believe Aristocrat’s casinos machines will find success in what remains a very messy market right now,” stated Comax’s Martin Beck at the World of Entertainment show. 

“The market is out of balance when the legal payout of a casino machine can be less than the ‘so-called legal’ payout of the AWP machines.”  Mr. Beck stated that the casino machine max bet.  However, with many of the most successful casino slots in the market operated on a profit-share basis, Mr. Beck is confident that Aristocrat has unveiled an impressive library of Czech operators,” said Mr. Beck.  “Already we’ve had interest from Czech Casinos and American chance.  And while other slot manufacturers have had marginal success in this market, they have fallen back due to the lack of service and support, something Comax can easily provide.”  Mr. Beck also believes that sales of the latest slots are now helping to convert Czech’s 52,000 machine market from reels to video.  “Video is definitely slowing down the sale of new rell-based AWP machines,” he said.  “The era of reel machine gaming in this country is coming to an end, certainly in old style cabinets.  The only games selling today are those in casino-style cabinets.  The market wants high quality games and together with Aristocrat we are assured that we can deliver them.”

Casino Technology opens massive hi-tech factory

In a phase of reduction, consolidation and outsourcing in the gaming industry, the opening of a new factory is becoming a relatively rare occurrence.  However, this month, Bulgaria’s Casino Technology is to open its brand new facility in Sofia.  Details of the opening will be revealed in the next issue, but at the World of Entertainment show in Prague, G3 asked Casino Technology founder, Milo Borissov, why he still believes in-house production has a place in today’s market.  “To create a successful product, you have to ensure the quality of every part of it,”  stated Mr. Borissov.  “If you provide game content and leave someone else to create your machine, you leave to chance mis-communication in the outsourcing of such an important part of a game’s development.”  And while Casino Technology  will not be internalizing every part of the machine’s production, with sub-contractors taking a slice of overall production, quality control will remain very  firmly in-house.  “We must have confidence in our guarantee to the customer that our product is of the highest quality,” he confirmed.  “We conduct in our factory, if there’s a fault, then we put it right.  If the engine in your Mercedes does not start, no one says it’s the fault of the sub-contractor- the owner always blames Mercedes,” explained Mr. Borissov.  “We must keep control of the final product to hold true to our warranty, to our promise to the customer.  You need a factory to achieve this.”

David Boden exits Rank Group in UK

      Executive Director of UK Rank Group and Managing Director of its gaming division, David Boden, stepped down from the board and left the company at the end of May.  Ian Burke, Chief Executive of Rank, now assumes direct responsibility for the management of the Group’s gaming division.  Alun Cathcart, Chairman of Rank, said: “On behalf of the Board I would like to thank David for the contribution he has made to Rank over the years in helping to build its strong positions in the UK bingo and casino markets.”

Synot corrals the best of best

Czech distributor and operator, Synot, unveiled three new JPM products on its stand at the World of Entertainment exhibition in April.  Gold  Barcrest, Extreme and wings were the star attractions of a stand that also featured the latest games from a cooperation between synot and German giant, Merkur Gaming.  Co-designed by Synot and developed and manufactured by Merkur, Triple Chance and Cash Fruits are two video AWP proto-types heading for a three month Czech market test in July.  “Our plans involve a cooperation with Merkur in Czech, Ukraine and Poland,” explained Synot Sales Director, Pavel Michalcio.  “It’s still early in the relationship, but we are progressing very rapidly for two such huge companies.”  And it’s a symbiotic relationship that involves JPM too, with its Linear cabinet games manufactured by Merkur in Germany.  “You can immediately recognize that they are manufactured by the Gauselmann Group,” said Mr. Michalcio of the latest JPM games design expertise and Gauselmann production values.”  Mr. Michalcio also emphasized that Synot’s relationship with JPM was as strong as ever, despite new deals with Merkur, Boss Media and a changing Czech marketplace.  “Our philosophy is to create the best games for our operations,” said Mr. Michalcio.  “The situation in the Czech market at present means that we must offer the greatest range of games ever: IVT, auto-roulette, sport-betting, reel-based and video AWPs.  Our goal is to make every game experience more entertaining, more comfortable, more attractive in a casino style.” Asked about the future development of video product in the Czech market, Mr. Michalcio stated: “We have to develop products in our existing markets.  IVTs, multi-players and AWPs.  It’s still the beginning of video reels in the Czech  market and I believe that in the near future this business will still remain a reels market.  We don’t just offer reels to the Czech market because of the relationship we have with JPM.  We do it because we still think there’s good business in mechanical reels, and it still has a future.  But to cover every sector, we are cooperating with both Merkur and Boss Media in the area of video, and we’re working with JPM in this sector too.”

  JPM Group’ Managing Director, Charles Walker, confirmed that video plans were ongoing, but as yet it was too early to mention specifics.  “Video is becoming a more significant factor in the Czech market,” commented Mr. Walker.  “Not only in Synot’s markets, but also in the UK.  We have plans to unveil video product, but there’s nothing to reveal right now, apart from to say that it’s something JPM is responding to.”  However, Mr. Walker was keen to emphasize that the movement towards video was not as fast-paced as those at the World of Entertainment exhibition would lead you to believe.  “Exhibition stands filled with video products don’t correlate to what’s selling in the market,” said Mr. Walker.  “There’s always space for reels in Czech  and in the other markets in which Synot distribute.  We’ve also seen a number of interesting developments of hybrids, especially in Spain, where a combination of traditional reels and video has proved very popular with plays.  I do think reel-based games are evolving and that JPM is in a position of particular strength to capitalize on future developments.” Mr. Walker confirmed that JPM will be launching considerably more product than in 2006/7 covers a number of obvious opportunities in Europe with existing partners and distributors,” said Mr. Walker.  “We’ve already experienced uplifts in terms of sales and have plans to increase our exports in 2007 with existing partners.  In the UK, we’ve also seen a resurgence in the rebuild market, and have both a new machine brand and a rebuild brand – Crystal.” In fact, JPM has accelerated product development for its Crystal brand to six game developments in 2006.  “We see a trend generated by the uncertainty around the UK’s Gaming Act 2005, in which operators are reluctant to pay top dollar for new machines.  Combined with a lack of triennial on stakes and prizes, this uncertainty is helping to boost Crystal sales for rebuilds in the UK.”

*  Heber Sales Manager , John Malin, has had a busy couple of months visiting trade shows in Spain, Columbia and the Czech Republic, meeting new and existing customers.  In March, John took the opportunity to visit the Andalusian Trade Show in Malaga, before heading off to Columbia to the FADJA 2006 show to support Jens Peiler on the Suzo Americas stand.  Suzo Americas  is Heber’s official distributor in South America.  Back in Europe, John then visited the Czech Republic for the “Svet Zabavy” World of Entertainment Show.  “I’ve had a busy spring schedule meeting Heber’s customers.” Said John Malin.  “It’s a great opportunity for me to meet some of our customers face-to-face as well as forming new relationship.  The South American and European markets are two of our key markets with many opportunities available to us.  It’s been great to be able to forge some new relationship at the shows I’ve visited”.  Heber was promoting the Pluto 6 Dual Video embedded control system, the Axis multimedia control system and the Firefly X10i USB add-on I/O peripheral board at the Columbian show.

*  Progressive Gaming International has received approval for its Rapid Bet Live (RBL) product from the Nevada Gaming Control Board.  The company successful completed a 30 day field  trial at the Palms Hotel and Casino (the Palms ).  RBL enables patrons to place live, real time-time wagers on professional and collegiate basketball, hockey, football, baseball and other sporting events.  RBL is now commercially available to be distributed at race and sports books throughout Nevada.


      In addition, the Progressive Gaming expects to submit to the Nevada Gaming control Board for approval its wireless edition of RBL within the next two months.  In March, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved the use of wireless gaming devices in Nevada, the first state in the national to allow mobile, wireless gaming in public areas in casinos.  Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Thomas Galanty stated: “We are very pleased with the success of the  recently completed field trial of RBL which we expect will provide us an excellent platform for the submission of the wireless edition.  This is in direct parallel with our core technology strategy to deliver wagering application and game content from a central server using thin-client technology for casino operators’ world –wide.  Due to the success of the field trial with the first edition of RBL, we expect to operate the field trial for the wireless edition also at the Palms, which has one of the leading edge sport book operations in Nevada.”

 

 
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